Renaming ADHD

Twila - Portland, Oregon
Entered on November 30, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Let me clear up the misnomer of the condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short. I have ADHD so not only do I firmly believe, I also know for a fact that people with ADHD have no deficit in the amount of attention they possess. That’s like saying someone with 25 times the regular amount of iron in her bloodstream is anemic. (Iron toxicity and anemia have the same symptoms.) To imply that something as intangible as attention is quantifiable is misleading. Easily Fascinated would be a far more accurate label than ADHD.

For example, consider the following breakfast scenario between my “normal” husband and me, his Easily Fascinated wife: My husband can sit at the breakfast table enjoying his waffles and nothing more, while I am quite likely to explode with all the realities, levels, techniques, and theories of waffle eating, not to mention the intricacies of how syrup pools up in waffle depressions, which of course leads to speculation about whether or not Eggo’s depressions are as deep as brand B’s, or as deep as the waffles made in waffles makers, and if not, then what does that do to the syrup pooling capabilities? Could there be an Aunt Jemima conspiracy? Simultaneously I’m wondering if the Eggo Corporation is ripping off the consumer by skimping on hole depth, or are they saving lives and teeth by not allowing us to pool up as much syrup and OH MY GOD! Aren’t the red-checkered kitchen curtains beautiful on sunny mornings when the breeze comes and ruffles them up that way?

For several timeless seconds the waffle chatter clicks off, and I go somewhere beautiful where only I and a glowing red-checkered curtain live. As the curtain floats and ruffles I feel my heart swell to match its visual rhythm, which mingles with all the other visual patterns in the kitchen, and in a brief flash there is the thrill and recognition of a universal truth shared by all red curtains, and of course, me.

Meanwhile, my husband has spent the entire time wondering if there are any more waffles.

Now, who in this scenario has an abundance of attention-paying abilities, and who has a deficit by comparison? Right! This is why I believe it would be far more accurate, as well as much kinder in terms of human-labeling, if we were to replace ADHD with a new acronym: EFAS—Easily Fascinated Adventurous Souls.